Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Review - The Crossroads by L. Ron Hubbard

The Crossroads
By L. Ron Hubbard
Published by: Galaxy Press
ISBN: 978-1-59212-241-7
Release Date: June 28, 2010

    I recently had the opportunity to review some audio books, courtesy of Stories from the Golden Age in exchange for a few reviews. I’ve written book reviews and DVD reviews, but never an audio review, so I was intrigued and agreed to review a few of the titles. Within a week, I received a box with five audios (each on two Cds), a free copy of the ASI Magazine, and a small calendar.

    The Crossroads was originally published in the February 1941 issue of Unknown magazine. The story involves a farmer Eben Smith, who was told by the government to destroy his crop’s surplus to help stabilize the failing economy. He is tired of the government controlling everything while people are starving. He loads his wagon with fruits and vegetables and heads for the city. His plans come to halt when he comes upon a bizarre crossroads, consisting of four odd roads. Each of these roads takes Eden to different realities, where he comes across soldiers and strange beings. Just because he cannot reach the big city does not mean Eben cannot barter his goods.

This is a well-written story, somewhat of a satire, that has similarities to today’s falling economy. While listening to it, I kept thinking that it could have made an incredible Twilight Zone or Outer Limits episode.

There are two more stories included with The Crossroads. In Borrowed Glory, a genie takes a bet that she can grant a person unlimited wishes and within forty-eight hours take everything back, and that person’s life will not be ruined. The genie gives this limited gift to an elderly woman, Meredith Smith. Unlike most women of the time, she did not marry and have children, but instead focused on her career and she regrets never experiencing love. Now she has the opportunity to be young again and create new memories. She becomes eighteen again and wishes for a new wardrobe. She meets a wonderful young man who is a playwright by accident. The two falls madly in love, he asks her to marry him, and of course, she said yes, but deep down she knows time is running out on her happiness.

Borrowed Glory is a wonderful tale about “what could have been,” but with a twisted ending.

The last story is The Devil’s Rescue about a ship going down during a storm, a sailor, Edward Larson, makes a few harsh decisions to become the lone survivor. For weeks, he drifts in a lifeboat near the Cape of Good Hope until a mysterious ship full of faceless sailors rescues him. The only way to escape them is to play a little dice with the devil.

The Devil’s Rescue starts out a little slow, but it picks up once Edward is rescued, once again reminding me of the Twilight Zone.

This is my first venture into the audio book world and I have to say that I enjoyed it. Galaxy Press has done a remarkable job with the sound effects, especially with the last tale as I felt like I was with Edward in the lifeboat as the seawater splashed around. These three tales consisted of a talented group of voice actors, such as Corey Burton, Edoardo Ballerini, R.F. Daley, Jennifer Darling, John Mariano, Jim Meskimen, Tamra Meskimen, Kristin Proctor, Enn Reitel, Tait Ruppert and Michael Yurchak.

Borrowed Glory and The Devil's Rescue can be downloaded free on http://www.goldenagestories.com/sample-stories.


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